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Advice for first Beetle build?
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SubarashiZeo
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2021 11:54 am    Post subject: Advice for first Beetle build? Reply with quote

Hello, am new here, and in about a couple months from today Iíll be off to buy a Beetle as a project car. Not will only will it be my first classic car, but itíll be my first personal car. Im sure posts like mine are dime a dozen and honestly I dont know id this the right place to post this, but I do need advice on what I can do to get my project sailing in the right direction.

Criteria for what I want to do with my Beetle:
*My budget is a little tight, still trying to figure out a budget but I do know that i want to make sure my car will be running as well as it can because itíll be my daily driver

*Once I get things sorted mechanically, I want to bring the car to rallycross and track days. Not really out to beat everyone, but I do want to make sure car will be able to keep pace without breaking.

My main questions:
*Should I be more worried about keeping the engine running or rust repair?

*When I want to get more power out of the car, which part of the car I could mod would give me the most bang for my buck?

*Iíll be getting my Beetle from somewhere a little far, about a 1 to 2 hour trip from home and the roads pretty rough and twisty. What should I prepare to ensure my Beetle will make it one piece?

Thanks in advance, and if I should redirect my posts somewhere else then kindly show me where.[/list][/list]
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CanStan
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2021 2:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Advice for first Beetle build? Reply with quote

Are you talking about buying a rusty beater that's been sitting for years, or a running / driving car that you want to improve on? It sounds like maybe you've already picked out the one you're going to buy?
A Beetle can be a decent daily driver, but you're probably going to be many months and many thousands of dollars into it before it's reliable for that.
I'd personally be nervous to rallycross my only car if I need it to get me to work on Monday morning.
I'm not trying to poo-poo on your dreams. But probably the most practical thing would be to buy a decent 'modern' daily driver, and get to know your project Beetle over time while you learn how to work on it, and save up the cash to do it properly. You say your budget is tight, and a 50 year old classic (especially a cheap one) will be hard to get / keep reliable for little to no money, even if you learn to do all the work yourself.

To answer your 3 main questions:

-I'd be equally worried about rust repair and keeping the engine running. If it's a rusty POS, it won't matter how nice it runs if you can't safely take it anywhere. On the flip side, a showroom fresh body isn't useful if the car doesn't run I guess.

-If you want more power, there are thousands of pages in these forums about how to do it. But I'd be more concerned about getting the car running, driving, and stopping properly before getting into that. There's not really a 'bolt on' solution to double your power if that's what you're asking. But there are 100 little things you can do that all add up to more power.

-Are you driving this Beetle home 1-2 hours after you pick it up? If it's a nice driver on regular roads, it will probably drive fine on twisty roads. But with any car you buy (50 years old or not), you need to make sure it has good brakes, good tires, full oil, good fuel lines etc. I'd spend some good time going through things before making that trip.
Or I guess grab a fire extinguisher and a AAA card, wing it, and hope for the best.
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SubarashiZeo
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2021 9:47 am    Post subject: Re: Advice for first Beetle build? Reply with quote

CanStan wrote:
Are you talking about buying a rusty beater that's been sitting for years, or a running / driving car that you want to improve on? It sounds like maybe you've already picked out the one you're going to buy?
A Beetle can be a decent daily driver, but you're probably going to be many months and many thousands of dollars into it before it's reliable for that.
I'd personally be nervous to rallycross my only car if I need it to get me to work on Monday morning.
I'm not trying to poo-poo on your dreams. But probably the most practical thing would be to buy a decent 'modern' daily driver, and get to know your project Beetle over time while you learn how to work on it, and save up the cash to do it properly. You say your budget is tight, and a 50 year old classic (especially a cheap one) will be hard to get / keep reliable for little to no money, even if you learn to do all the work yourself.

To answer your 3 main questions:

-I'd be equally worried about rust repair and keeping the engine running. If it's a rusty POS, it won't matter how nice it runs if you can't safely take it anywhere. On the flip side, a showroom fresh body isn't useful if the car doesn't run I guess.

-If you want more power, there are thousands of pages in these forums about how to do it. But I'd be more concerned about getting the car running, driving, and stopping properly before getting into that. There's not really a 'bolt on' solution to double your power if that's what you're asking. But there are 100 little things you can do that all add up to more power.

-Are you driving this Beetle home 1-2 hours after you pick it up? If it's a nice driver on regular roads, it will probably drive fine on twisty roads. But with any car you buy (50 years old or not), you need to make sure it has good brakes, good tires, full oil, good fuel lines etc. I'd spend some good time going through things before making that trip.
Or I guess grab a fire extinguisher and a AAA card, wing it, and hope for the best.


Okay, Iíll clarify if I sound a little confusing.

*Iíll be getting a driving one that runs decently already, Iíll be doing a long trip so of course I need one that is mechanically sound as possible. Though I would like pointers for inspecting which areas of the car I should check if I want to be sure itíll make it.

*I havenít picked up a specific Beetle but Iíll be getting one from a lot with a bunch of Beetles. I have a relative who got his Beetle there, his isnít mint but itís very drivable and some parts of the body did need some rust repair, he did eventually restore it.

Yeah, Iíll admit I might be over my head with daily driving the Beetle. Iíll see what I can sort with that.
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KTPhil Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2021 11:17 am    Post subject: Re: Advice for first Beetle build? Reply with quote

Ok, so if you are only considering a car that is reliable enough to make the trip, that means price is not really a concern, because such a car will be much more expensive than a fixer (which you would want to flatbed). So assuming that's what you are buying...
1) Check, or better still, replace all fuel hoses.
2) Check brake operation and fluid level, including the hand brake. Part of the brake check is to check adjustment, and also the front wheel bearing adjustment.
3) Check tire conditions, including the spare.
4) Check the date on the battery, and use a VOM to ensure it is charging at any speed above idle.
5) Bring/buy a few spares for the model/year you bought: fan belt, accel cable, clutch cable, points, cap and rotor, a spare spark plug or two.
6) Bring all your normal tools, including any VW special tools (36mm rocket, for example).
7) Spare oil matching what's in it now.
8) Before getting too far out of town, take it up to speed on a freeway/highway, run it for about 30 minutes, and sure it's not overheating or otherwise running poorly.
9) Let someone at home know when to expect you, and your planned route, so if you don't arrive on time, they know to go looking for you.

...and of course a AAA card, credit card, charged up phone, contact numbers, and any personal security devices you feel are appropriate.
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TDCTDI
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2021 1:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Advice for first Beetle build? Reply with quote

First & foremost, take someone knowledgeable with ACVW with you to thoroughly inspect the vehicle that you are wanting to buy. Then, be willing to walk away from a car that isnít right.


If you want to rallycross, then you obviously donít need shiny, if it has shiny new paint, itís likely hiding the ugly within.



Rallycross is a bunch of fun.


Link

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AutoMechanic
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2021 1:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Advice for first Beetle build? Reply with quote

Iíd worry about rust first. You need to catch it as soon as you can because rust never sleeps. Running is important too but if you are wanting to restore then repair the body first.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 7:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Advice for first Beetle build? Reply with quote

Make sure the heater channels are solid, pans can be patched. Engines are not so cheap anymore so learn how to evaluate the bottom end of the engine at least. Put aside $300 for a brake rebuild so you can at least stop without fear.

Good hunting!
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SubarashiZeo
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 9:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Advice for first Beetle build? Reply with quote

TDCTDI wrote:
First & foremost, take someone knowledgeable with ACVW with you to thoroughly inspect the vehicle that you are wanting to buy. Then, be willing to walk away from a car that isnít right.


If you want to rallycross, then you obviously donít need shiny, if it has shiny new paint, itís likely hiding the ugly within.



Rallycross is a bunch of fun.


Link



Yeah, that's one of the reasons why I wanted a Beetle. Never realized till recently that they make really great Rally Cars with the right amount of skill and effort. While I will of course focus on getting the Beetle running up to standard. I would like some advice about what I could do to prepare my Beetle for a Rallycross event once the time is right.
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Abscate Premium Member
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2021 1:18 am    Post subject: Re: Advice for first Beetle build? Reply with quote

I miss you , GhiaPet....
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jspbtown
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2021 6:37 am    Post subject: Re: Advice for first Beetle build? Reply with quote

If this is a project for you to learn on that make 100% you have no rust issues. Rust repair...and the equipment needed to do it correctly...is expensive and challenging.

Stick to a car that needs mechanical work. Just about everything....from suspension to brakes to drivetrain.... is super easy to learn and not expensive to purchase.

You will blow through your budget with rust repair long before you can get it on the road safely.
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